Oct 14 – Losing Your Shadow

It’s still the 13th and 10pm.  I forgot to turn my phone off and it decides to inform me that I could see the aurora in the next hour.  ‘Whatever!’ is my actually thought but I peer through the open tent flap…

How did I end up on a woodland horror movie set??

The clouds had rolled in.  Black trees gradually faded to grey and then blended into the fog.  This is great!  Wet tent may be the result, but warmer night is guaranteed with a cloudy sky.  I get my head back in to the tent and curl up, marvelling at the warmth within my sleeping bag.  I realise that the warmth is purely under the 3 layers of clothing I have on, but still… 


Alarm goes off, it’s snoozed.  A repeated ritual until an hour later.  I heat what water I have left, barely enough to fill a glass but more than enough to moisten my muesli.  Muesli made & eaten, I begin to pack up.  The outer skin of the tent is coated in a tiny layer of condensation but the inner is dry.  Result!  They’re packed separately, wrapped in my floor mat and attached to my pack.  A slow walk into Matfors in time for the shop to open.

I seem to get trapped in a shopping time vortex!  I go in just after 8 and come out around 9!  Not a big store, not a massive amount of food purchased but still an hour lost to the land of commercialism.  I check the map as I walk, working out my route.  There is 75km between me and Friggesund.  I have all day so a steady wander, run the flats and downhills and cover around 35km.  I have no idea how far I’d travelled but a sign ahead says ‘Hassela 32km’ 

I hear the voice of many a Buxton student well up and float from my mouth…


I head off, not sure why I questioned the distance.  I knew it was more than 30km from Matfors to Hassela.  I think I felt I’d travelled a bit further.  Gotten closer to Hassela but obviously not.  12pm will be lunch break. 

I’ve managed to add 3kg to my pack with the extra food and water.  I feel it in my legs as the first long hill starts.  It seems to keep going up for an age.  I refuse to have a break but the occasional passing lory provides the perfect excuse to step on to the soft verge and stop.  A few times I end up further off the road than I’d want and have to clamber out of the road side ditch, amused by the whole slip sliding afair.  Still I run a few of the hills.  Ill advised and often ending in a short bout of being bent over but it feels good to push the hills!!

Lunch arrives.  I sit on a rock and realise that if I don’t get off it, I’m likely to have the numbest and coldest arse ever.  I stand, move away and decide to squat.  The expectation is to squat down, feel and possibly hear the creaking of the miles behind me but I seem to drop into a comfortable position.  It’s actually quite warm when you squat down.  Waiting for the legs to burn, but nothing…

In fact.  I realise that my ankle is improving despite the pack weight.  My left hip and my hip flexors don’t ache as they used to and my calfs don’t burn.  My Achilles don’t click anymore.  Maybe this whole eating more is having a positive effect.  More up hills, but now I run them.  Just long enough to see the top.  The long expected downhills feels effortless to run.  My legs tell me the pack is heavier, but they carry the burden with little complaint.  A quick check of the time and I’m less than 6km from Hassela.  That voice again…


I can’t believe I’m less than a km from Hassela and it’s only 3:30?!  A trail appears on the left, I wander down it.  It’s been used by cars but looking at the ground, it’s not even been stepped on for a few days.  So I pick an open spot, a dry spot with a slight rise so my legs are above my head.  I pitch my tent, boil the interestingly yellow water I collected earlier and settle down for dinner (or tea depending on whether you want to say you are a southerner or a northerner), get changed for sleep and get in the sleeping bag.  Not sure what to do with all this time I have.  I could have continued.  I could have covered another 10km, but then, why use extra energy on a cold day. Now this is the downside of a cloudy sky.  The temperature is more stable.  Warmer at nights, but it is colder in the day, everything feels damp and I lose my faithful companion.  My shadow.  Yet I marvel at the difference in the trees here to further up north.  Most trees further north had begun to shed their leaves and embrace the long winter sleep.  A well earned rest for a few months productivity.  Here, some trees cling to their leaves.  Still green in colour.  It has been warmer here I think to myself as I run along the road.  The trees aren’t quite done yet.  

It appears I’ve cover 40km today.  40km and loads of time to recover, eat, write, drink and sleep.  

One thought on “Oct 14 – Losing Your Shadow

  1. That’s a good day! You’ve covered 40k and time to spare! Pack will be lighter tomoz ,
    Hopefully further south warmer temperature well a degree or 2 ? Use the time u have to take in and reflect of what you’ve achieved !
    Remember what I’ve said before , post that you need a little help from time to time to fund you on your journey .people will help I for one will keep doing so . Keep marching on Aleks !! Best wishes val .

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